tech track papers

Categories: 2017, Big Ideas and Architectures

Container Based Virtualization Applied

The satellite ground segment has become reliant on hypervisor-based virtual machines (VMs). Things that took days, weeks or even longer using the previous bare-metal approach are now being accomplished in minutes or less.  As good as virtual machines are can container-based virtualization technology provide additional benefits to hypervisor-based virtualization?

In a container-based virtualization environment the virtualization layer supports multiple applications by sharing a single Operating System (OS) as compared to hypervisor-based virtualization where each (VM) requires a dedicated OS installation.

We need to examine this emerging technology to identify how it can be applied to satellite control centers:

  • Can these technologies co-exist or are containers the eventual replacement technology for virtual machines?  Is it possible to take advantage of both?
  • If yes to the above, will we need to re-architect and possibly re-factor our applications and designs to take full advantage of container technology?
  • How will container-based virtualization perform? Will placing multiple containers sharing the same underlying operating system become resource bound at some point? How will operating system reboot durations compare between virtual machines and containers?
  • Virtual machines provide a high-level of isolation between our applications in other virtual machines similar to bare-metal.  Are there mechanisms in place to isolate containers and govern container resource utilization?

We know that in our near future we will be required to deploy orders of magnitude more VMs containing our hosted applications. How will customers manage all these VMs to keep operations current and functioning for the entire life-cycle for their ground system applications? Can we leverage container technology to facilitate this?

This Tech Track paper will examine container-based virtualization technology on satellite ground system environments and review lessons learned as we applied container technology to our Virtualized Satellite Control Center (VSCC).


Author: Richard Monteleone
Topic: Big Ideas and Architectures